Af­ter heat, a cool- down

Lower tem­per­a­tures should as­sist the crews bat­tling the Lake fire south of Big Bear.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Matt Hamil­ton matt. hamil­ton @ latimes. com

The high- pres­sure sys­tem of warm, dry air that pushed tem­per­a­tures into the triple dig­its in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia will be­gin to drift away Mon­day, of­fer­ing re­lief to f ire­fight­ers bat­tling the state’s largest for­est fire this year.

The strong high- pres­sure sys­tem kept tem­per­a­tures in the 100- de­gree range in the An­te­lope Val­ley and in the high 90s in parts of the San Fer­nando Val­ley on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

Tem­per­a­tures in the Los An­ge­les area hov­ered in the mid- to high 80s.

On Mon­day, a pe­riod of grad­ual cool­ing will be­gin. The L. A. area will see tem­per­a­tures in the high 70s, and desert tem­per­a­tures will fall into the 90s by mid­week, said weather spe­cial­ist Stu­art Seto.

The cooler tem­per­a­tures should help the nearly 2,000 f ire­fight­ers bat­tling the Lake fire in the San Bernardino Moun­tains south of Big Bear Lake.

The blaze, which be­gan Wed­nes­day, has scorched more than 17,050 acres in the San Bernardino Moun­tains. Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple evac­u­ated camp­sites and va­ca­tion homes.

The fire tore through dry, rugged ter­rain that has not seen a fire this large in more than a cen­tury, of­fi­cials said. The for­est is par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to fire be­cause of a bark bee­tle in­fes­ta­tion that has killed many trees.

“It’s steep and there’s a lot of dead trees that are down,” f ire spokes­woman Shawna Hart­man said. “The logs will burn, roll down the hill, then catch some­thing at the bot­tom of the hill, send­ing the fire back up.”

The fire, which was push­ing in a south­east­erly di­rec­tion to­ward the Morongo Val­ley, was 19% con­tained Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to the United States For­est Ser­vice.

About 500 homes and other struc­tures were threat­ened by the blaze, but no struc­tural dam­age has been re­ported, Hart­man said.

A plume of smoke ex­tended hun­dreds of miles east over the Mo­jave Desert. Air qual­ity warn­ings have been is­sued in the area.

Francine Orr Los An­ge­les Times

A FIRE­FIGHT­ING HE­LI­COPTER sucks up wa­ter from Jenks Lake as it helps bat­tle the Lake f ire, which has scorched more than 17,000 acres in the San Bernardino Moun­tains. Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple evac­u­ated.

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